“Let us not lose focus, the real victim here was a good judge.”
That was stressed yesterday by National Bureau of Investigation Bacolod chief Ferdinand Lavin after numerous allegations were raised following the NBI's filing of charges against Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez and six others for the murder of Kabankalan Regional Trial Court Judge Henry Arles.
Lavin denied allegations that the Arles family or the NBI had tortured three Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao members into admitting participation in the murder of the judge, and that they are fall guys.
He was referring to Jessie Daguia, Alejandro Capunong and Eddie Fortunado, who are now under NBI custody in Manila.
Relatives of the three have charged that they were tortured and have since retracted their admission of participation in the murder
Lavin said that if the relatives can provide specifics on their allegations an investigation could be conducted.
The three were not illegally detained since they sought NBI protective custody, in the presence of their lawyer Ana Marie Palermo, he added.
He also said they were arrested red-handed with firearms and that charges against them were filed before the Bacolod City Prosecutor's Office on time, contrary to the claims of the family members.
If there was anything illegal in our detaining of the three, the inquest prosecutor would have ordered us to release them, he added.
Meanwhile, the NBI cannot arrest Alvarez, E mmanuel “Eman” Medez, and RPA members Marvin Salve and Gerald Gallano Tabujara, who are at-large, until warrants for their arrests are issued if charged in court by the DOJ, Lavin added.
Lavin said the filing of charges against the mayor and his co-accused by the NBI was not done by him alone, it was a collegial decision of top NBI officials in Manila who reviewed their findings.
In fact, it was the NBI Director Nonatos Rojas who signed the transmittal of the complaint to the DOJ, he added.
He said the mayor and the six others will have all the chance to air their sides during the preliminary investigation to be conducted by the DOJ.
Lavin denied that one of the five sketches of the Arles slay suspects it released earlier was of an NBI asset called alias Bulag, as alleged by relatives of the RPA-ABB members.
“We would not include an asset in the lineup, we would not put the safety of people who cooperated with this investigation at risk,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maria Estelita “Ria” Arles yesterday said that, contrary to what has been claimed, they are not aware that the three RPA-ABB members under NBI custody in Manila have retracted their admissions of participation in the murder of her father.*CPG